Having a Fourth blast at the Marina

Speaking of family pyrotechnic treks.

For the past two years, the Significant Republican and I have watched Fourth of July fireworks in Sparks from the parking lot of Target on Prater Way. The parking’s great. Easy in, easy out. Oooh. Aaah.

This year, we headed for the Sparks Marina, where we could soak up community and celebrate our country’s freedom with a seething mass of humanity.

A recent spurt of e-mails tags me as unpatriotic, anti-American, etc. I’ve been told to “pitch [my] filthy opinion tent” in Iraq, where the “animals” will surely welcome me, right before they “butcher” me.

I’ve been told to “really” read my Bible. (Note: Read the whole deal through twice, the New Testament more than a dozen times. Committed much to memory. Once spent a year memorizing Ecclesiastes.)

In recent e-mails, I’ve been lectured on the many fine uses of war, reminded that Christ will lead a future battle on a white horse—“Texas-style”—and urged to consider whence came my freedom.

So here I am on a hillside overlooking the Marina considering whence came my freedom. Kids are rolling down the steep grass slope, giggling and screaming. Nearby, a guy downs Bud Lights and gushes about the Raiders. A half-dozen teens crowd onto a blanket, checking cell phones frequently and squirting one another with water bottles.

I inhale freedom. It smells like beer, hamburgers cooking on a charcoal grill, patchouli oil and laundry detergent. I love this smell. I describe it to my Significant Republican, and he mentions the occasional waft of cigarette smoke. Mmm.

I love my community. If the lives and freedoms of my fellow Sparks-dwellers were at risk from an irrational enemy, I’d fight.

Let’s be hypothetical: Another country, say Canada, decides that the people of the United States are oppressed by our leaders. War-mongering Canucks, backed by the majority of voting Canadians, opt to liberate us. Whether we like it or not. A fierce battle is fought. Canada’s vastly superior military forces our guys and gals underground. The war moves to our streets. Family members are maimed and killed. Husbands and sons are arrested for questioning and tortured—because they know someone who knows someone whose brother makes bombs.

Consider if, while I’m at the Marina, Canada drops a bomb, killing suspected insurgents along with a couple hundred families. The child playing on the grassy hill survives, face mangled beyond recognition.

Would I fight back? Would you? Would Raider fans set down their Bud Lights and take hostages from the invading forces? Would some of us turn into “animals” and “butchers” to defend our loved ones? Would media attention become so important to our cause that we’d even behead someone as a desperate symbolic act?

Would the world care that our children were dying? Experts interviewed on Canadian TV would intone a familiar refrain: “We’re just trying to help. After all we’ve done, we don’t know why they hate us.”

End hypothetical. Canada’s good.

So freedom. Hooray for Iraq’s new independent government. By many accounts, things are worse than ever. Iraq’s so-called “liberation” cost the lives of thousands, many civilians, along with around 850 U.S. soldiers.

OK, enough bitching. I’m safe here, living well, free to work and write and read what I want.

The Sparks fireworks delight. A gaggle of girls in short shorts stumbles along and stops in front of us. One girl turns to me to apologize for blocking my view. Her words slur: “They suck from this far away anyway.” I’m free to disagree.

Halfway through the display, there’s a sprinkler scare. Though it turns out to be a false alarm, dozens of people make a mass exodus off the grass and to their cars.

As the Great Prophet himself once noted, we are sheep without a shepherd.